CB Mays Brewery
Vinegar Barrels 1910
CB May Brewery: Apple growers could not afford to be “one trick ponies.” A brewery could take over-abundant, and perhaps unsalable (for any reason) fruit, distill it, and turn it into spirits, or into vinegar.
This very same thing already had a long history by the time of early New Plymouth. Rum produced in West Indies from sugar cane, transported to New England in a barter trade both to get a valuable commodity to market and/or circumvent taxation. Same with early Kentuckians who turned corn/wheat into liquor in order to more easily move the fruits of their labor to market over nearly impossible roads or trails. Also a different market strategy might circumvent a difficult obstacle; government, transport, distance, weather, and other difficulties. Moonshine whiskey is such a strategy.
Similarly, early apple and other fruit growers, could preserve their crop, take an over-abundant crop, or a hail damaged crop and make it into a form that could be stored indefinitely, and transported easily. Apples with hail or wind damage could be salvaged. Apples that were too big or too small, or had any kind of damage that were not #1 marketable, could be salvaged. We called such fruit, culls. They would never have seen a market except with these extra efforts.
Some New Plymouth apple farmers dehydrated apples and other fruits in still more creative ways to market them.
New Plymouth farmers, like my own family, ate all the apples we could possibly eat because they were easy to obtain, and plentiful — and very cheap. We also canned them as applesauce — a staple food in our house at almost every single meal! We put apples through apple presses to make cider — and fed the squeezing to chickens and hogs. We made vinegar from cider (many times inadvertently!). We peeled and canned them. We dried them. We saved the seeds and ate them. Seeds are very tasty with an amaretto flavor. Trouble is, it is the cyanide in them that produces that flavor. It is ok to eat them in relatively small quantities. However larger quantities, won’t kill you, but will make you sick!